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Corsair Obsidian 250D Mini-ITX Computer Case Review

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The Build, Continued

When I first installed the H100i, I ran into an unpleasant surprise: severe interference of the motherboard with one of the coolant hoses. As you can see, the lower hose is pressed quite hard against a motherboard I/O port housing.

corsair_250d_radiator_hose_obstruction

While the system would work, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to leave a vibrating rubber hose pressed so hard against the sharp metal edge of the I/O port. Flipping the radiator so that the hoses were at the front precluded the use of both the front fan and 5.25″ drive tray. Corsair’s own publicity photos show this cooling system installed, so I was obviously doing something wrong. What was it?

corsair_250d_radiator_install

Aha! The trick is don’t use the same mounting holes you’d use for the fans. Instead, use the mounting holes slightly above and to the left of those as shown here. This moves the radiator and its hoses just far enough so that the hoses aren’t touching the I/O port. Corsair should point this out in the manual.

corsair_250d_radiator_hose_clear

The Gigabyte GA-Z77N motherboard really isn’t the right choice for this case, because most of its connectors are on the side of the board, right up against the radiator and fans. These include the four SATA ports, the main ATX power connector, the front panel header, and the USB 2.0 header. With some judicious cable routing and liberal use of zip ties, I’ve managed to keep the wires out of the fans (I tried adding fan grilles, but there’s no clearance available between the edge of the motherboard and the edge of the fans– they wouldn’t fit.) and keep things just neat enough so that I’m not too embarrassed of the view through the windowed top of the case. I was able to route all four SATA cables out through the bottom of the motherboard tray under the radiator, and along the side of the case to the drives. This did require a long cable to reach the optical drive.

corsair_250d_cables

OK, everything’s installed and ready to go. Overall this was a reasonably easy build, with the only real problem (aside from the radiator mounting) being dealing with the tangle of cables at the front of the case, below the 5.25″ tray. Here’s a hint: remove the front fan during the build and you’ll have a nice large access hole at the front of the case that will make things a lot easier. Re-install the fan at the very end of the build.

corsair_250d_assemble_no_panelsIf I were building a system from scratch, I’d choose a motherboard that positioned its connectors at the front edge, like the ASUS Z87I-Deluxe. This would make it a lot easier to have a neat build that would look good through the case window.

I’ll present my final thoughts and conclusions in the next section.


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5 comments

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  1. PowerHungry

    In this review, you mention that all the intake areas have filters. My question is, does the rear area that have openings for two 80 mm fans also have a magnetic filter?? If not, should that have been considered a negative?

  2. David Ramsey

    There are no filters for the two 80mm fan positions. This isn’t a negative since you normally mount exhaust fans in that position.

  3. PowerHungry

    I have yet to see “ONE” review where anyone mounted the 80 mm fans, most like you used the Corsair H100i for cooling.

    Corsair should have realized that most people would not mount the 80 mm fans and supplied a filter. Without a filter here, the other filters are almost useless, as you have a wide area for dust to enter.

  4. David Ramsey

    I wouldn’t say the other filters are “almost useless”, since the front fan will move a significant amount of air through its filter, as will the intake fan(s) for a GPU card. In fact there’s noticeable dust on both of these filters in my Hackintosh, which has been running in that case a couple of weeks now.

    Still, you have a valid point about air entering through the 80mm fan mounts. That said, I’m not sure how much of a problem it will be in my particular build, since I think any air coming through that part of the case will be sucked right into the radiator and sent back out. Right now the motherboard and radiator are not noticeably dusty, so perhaps it won’t be an issue.

    The fan mounts are easy enough to cover with duct tape if it really bothers you.

    FWIW, I can’t find any (i.e. “not in the first two pages of Google results”) other reviews using the H100i. AnandTech, Overclock3D, Guru3D, Bit-tech.net, Hexus, Legit Reviews, Overclocker’s Club, and tech report.com all used air coolers. In fact that only other review that I can find that used liquid cooling was HardOCP, and they used a 120mm radiator. So while some other site may have used an H100i, I’m pretty sure it’s not “most” of them.

  5. PowerHungry

    Point taken on the H100i, I should have said most reviews included, a liquid cooler and some used air as well. I stand corrected.

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